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Hound of Heaven 


REV. J. F. X. qCONOR, S. J. 

Professor of Philosophy, St. Francis Xavier College, N. Y. 

Editor of Autobiography of St. Ignatius, 

of Life of St. Aloysius. etc. 


Dedicated with permission to 




New York 


JosEi'H F. Havselman, S.J. 

rrovincial, Maryland-New York 

Nllyil ©betat. 

Remigius Lafojpt, S.T.L. 



John * Car din**. Farley 

Archbishop of New York 

^ew York, Mily 20th. 1912 

Printea, July 20, 191S 300 copies 

■R-enripted, AAigKst, ^ 1913. .'. 1,000 copies 

Rjepri.-ited, Sep^emb^r,- lOlli 1,000 copies 

Reprinted, December, 1912 .... .2,000 copies 

J. F. X. O'CoNOR, 1912. 





By Rev. J. F. X. O'Conor, SJ. 

This great poem, strange to say, is comparatively little 
known. It is the sweetest, deepest, strongest song ever 
written in the English tongue. 

Among some of the great odes are ''Alexander's 
Feast," Dryden, ''Ode on the Nativity," Milton, "Intima- 
tions of Immortality," Wordsworth. To say Thompson's 
poem is one of the great odes is to place it unranked 
among them. In my judgment it is greater. 

I do not hesitate to say with the Bookman that "the 
Hound of Heaven seems to us, on the whole, the most 
wonderful lyric in the language. It fingers all the stops 
of the spirit . . . hut under all, the still sad music 
of humanity," and with the Times, that "people will still 
be learning it by heart two hundred years hence, for it 
has about it the unique thing that makes for immortality. 
It is the return of the nineteenth century to Thomas a 

With the Spectator, I ask, "is there any religious poem 
carrying so much of the passion of penitence — an ode in 



the manner of Crashaw, and in the comparison, it more 
than holds its own." 

With Coventry Patmore I marvel at the "profound 
thoughts and far-fetched splendor of imagery, qualities 
which ought to place him in the permanent ranks of 
fame," while even Burne-Jones cries out ''Since Gabriel's 
Blessed Damosel no mystical words have so touched me 
as the Hound of Heaven." 

And may we not add the words of G. K. Chesterton, 
"with Francis Thompson we lose the greatest poetic 
energy since Browning. In his poetry as in the 
poetry of the universe, you can work infinitely out and 
out, but yet infinitely in and in. These two infinities are 
the mark of a great poet, and he was a great poet." 

"The great poetry of it (The Hound of Heaven) tran- 
scended in itself and in its influence all conventions," 
says Wilfrid Meynell, "so that it won the love of a Catholic 
Mystic like Coventry Patmore ; was included by Canon 
Beeching in his Lyra Sacra among its older high com- 
peers; and gave new heart to quite another manner of 
man, Edward Burne-Jones." 

It would be difficult to find another poem in the lan- 
guage that gives such food for thought, so satisfying, so 
new, that can be read and reread, and always with a 
relish and a discovery of a new application, or the glim- 
mer of an unseen light. In many poems, one reading 
suffices, and the mind is sated, for the whole depth is 
plummeted and all is revealed in a single view. It is not 
so in this poem. There is a depth that can be sounded, 
and deeper depths are still there. The vision takes in the 
view, but other details arise that charm, or surprise, or 
startle, or evoke admiration at the spiritual insight into 
the workings of the soul. It gives great and wide 
range of thought within a small compass, and a deep 


knowledge of the human soul, of the meanings of life, of 
the soul's relation to God and of other beings not God, 
and of the hold of God's love upon the soul in spite of its 
fleeing from Him to the creatures of His hand. 

It is happiness the human soul is ever yearning for. 
It never ceases its quest for happiness. Night and day, 
year after year, it is grasping after happiness. The weary 
days of labor are borne to gain the wealth with which 
_„^^it thinks it may buy happiness. The days of suffering 
'>^«and pain are spent in watching and waiting for the agony 
to pass, that happiness may come. It looks for it in every 
creature, in the earth, in the sea, in the air. The soul 
asks all these things — wherein is your happiness — and 
the answer of earth, air, sea is "He made us." '*We are 
for Him, for His glory." So the soul is looking for 
happiness, and in all these things it will not find happi- 
ness. It will find happiness only in God. And yet 
instead of seeking it in God, it turns away from Him 
and seeks it in the creature, something that is not God. 
And God is ever seeking that soul which is running away 
from Him. Wherever it runs, the sound of those feet, 
following ever after, is heard, and a voice, stronger than 
the beat — 

But with unhurrying chase. 

And imperturbed pace. 

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy 

They beat — and a Voice beats 

More instant than the feet, 

"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me." 

And this thought of the creature fleeing from God, and 
ever pursued by His love, is most beautifully expressed 
in the poem of Francis Thompson, the great Catholic poet. 
He seems to sing in verse, the thought of St. Ignatius in 


the spiritual exercises, — the thought of St. Paul in the 
tender, insistent love of Christ for the soul, and the 
yearning of Christ for the love of that soul which ever 
runs after creatures, till the love of Christ awakens in 
it a love of its God, which dims and deadens all love of 
creatures except through love for Him. This was the 
love of St. Paul, of St. Ignatius, of St. Stanislaus, of St. 
Francis of Assisi, of St. Clare, of St. Theresa. 


The name is strange. It startles one at first. It is so 
bold, so new, so fearless. It does not attract at once, 
rather the reverse. But when one reads the poem this 
strangeness disappears. The meaning is understood. 
As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its 
running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhur- 
rying and imperturbed pace, so does God follow the 
fleeing soul by His Divine grace. And though in sin or 
in human love, away from God it seeks to hide itself, 
Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever 
after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to 
Him alone in that never ending pursuit 


r^rancis Tliuinpson was born at Preston in 1859, the 
son of a physician. After seven years at Ushaw, he went 
to Queens College to qualify for his father's profession. 
He came to London ill and in great poverty, in reality 
starving, and was saved by the act of one whom he has 
immortalized : 

"She passed — O brave, sad, lovingest, tender thing, 
And of her own scant pittance did she give 

That I might eat and live: 
Then fled, a sw^ift and trackless fugitive." 

He died in the hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth, in 
St. John's Wood, at the age of forty-eight, on November 
13, 1907. His works are: Poems, Sister Songs, New 
Poems, Selected Poems, The Hound of Heaven. 

In prose he has written "Shelly," Health and Holiness, 
and "The Life of St. Ignatius Loyola." The last named 
is edited, with notes, by J. H. Pollen, S.J. 

"History will certainly be busy with this remarkable 
man's life," writes Alice Meynell, "as well as with his 
work; and this record will serve in the future, being at 
any rate, strictly true. As to the fate of his poetry in 
the judgment of his country, I have no misgivings. 
For no reactions of taste, no vicissitude of language, no 
change in the prevalent fashions of the art, no altering 
sense of the music of verse, can lessen the height or 
diminish the greatness of this poet's thought, or undo 
his experience, or unlive the life of this elect soul, or 
efface its passion. There is a call to our time from the 
noble seventeenth century; and this purely English poet 
cried "Adsum" to the resounding summons: 
Come, and come strong 
To the conspiracy of our spacious song. 

The Hound of Heaven 

I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days ; 
I fled Him, down the arches of the years; 
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways 

Of my own mind ; and in the mist of tears 
I hid from Him, and under running laughter. 
Up vistaed hopes, I sped; 
And shot, precipitated, 
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears. 

From those strong Feet that followed, followed after. 
But with unhurrying chase. 
And unperturbed pace, 
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, 

They beat — and a Voice beat 
More instant than the Feet — 
''All 'things betray thee, who betrayest Me." 

I pleaded, outlaw-wise, 
By many a hearted casement, curtained red, 

Trellised with interwining charities; 
(For, though I knew His love Who followed, 

Yet was I sore adread 
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside.) 
But, if one little casement parted wide. 
The gust of His approach would clash it to. 
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue. 


Across the margcnt of the world I fled, 

And troubled the gold gateways of the stars, 
Smiting for shelter on their clanged bars; 
Fretted to dulcet jars 
And silvern chatter the pale ports o' the moon. 
I said to dawn : Be sudden ; to eve : Be soon— 
With thy young skyey blossoms heap me over 
From this tremendous Lover ! 
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see ! 

I tempted all His servitors, but to find 
My own betrayal in their constancy. 
In faith to Him their fickleness to me. 

Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit. 
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue; 
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind^ 
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet, 
The long savannahs of the blue; 

Or whether. Thunder-driven, 
They clanged His chariot 'thwart a heaven, 
Pla<^hy with flying lightnings round the spurn o' their 
feet :— 
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue. 
Still with unhurrying chase. 
And unperturbed pace. 
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, 
Came on the following Feet, 
And a Voice above their beat — 
"Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me." 

I sought no more that after which I strayed 

In face of man or maid; 
But still within the little children's eyes 

Seems something, something that replies. 
They at least are for me, surely for me! 


I turned me to them very wistfully; 

But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair 

With dawning answers there, 
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair 

"Come then, ye other children, Nature's — share 
With me" (said I) "your delicate fellowship; 
Let me greet you lip to lip, 
Let me twine with you caresses, 

With our Lady-Mother's vagrant tresses. 

With her in her wind-walled palace, 
Underneath her azured dais, 
Quaffing, as your taintless way is. 
From a chalice 
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring." 

So it was done: 
/ in their delicate fellowship was one — 
Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies. 

/ knew all the swift importings 
On the wilful face of skies; 
I knew how the clouds arise. 
Spumed of the wild sea-snortings ; 
All that's born or dies 
Rose and drooped with; made them shapers 
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine — 
With them joyed and was bereaven. 
I was heavy with the even, 
When she lit her glimmering tapers 
Round the day's dead sanctities. 
I laughed in the morning's eyes. 
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather, 
Heaven and I wept together, 

And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine; 
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart 
I laid my own to beat, 
And share commingling heat ; 
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart. 
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's grey cheek. 
For ah ! we know not what each other says, 

These things and I ; in sound / speak — 
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences. 
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth; 

Let her, if she would owe me, 
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me 

The breasts o' her tenderness : 
Never did any milk of hers once bless 
My thirsting mouth. 
Nigh and nigh draws the chase, 
With unperturbed pace, 
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy. 
And past those noised Feet 
A Voice comes yet more fleet — 
*'Lo ! naught contents thee, who content'st not Me." 
Naked I wait Thy love's uplifted stroke! 
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn, from me, 
And smitten me to my knee; 
I am defenceless utterly. 
I slept, methinks, and woke, 
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep. 
In the rash lustihead of my young powers, 

I shook the pillaring hours 
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears, 
I stand amid the dust o' the mounded years — 
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap. 
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke. 
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream. 


Yea, faileth now even dream 
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist; 

Even the Hnked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist 
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist, 
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account 
For earth, with heavy griefs so overplussed. 

Ah ! is Thy love indeed 
A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed, 
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount? 

Ah! must — 
Designer infinite ! — 
Ah ! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn 

with it? 
My freshness spent its wavering shower i'the dust; 
And now my heart is as a broken fount, 
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate spilt down ever 

From the dank thoughts that shiver 
Upon the sighful branches of my mind. 

Such is; what is to be? 
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind? 
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds; 
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds 
From the hid battlements of Eternity: 
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then 
Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash agair ; 

But not ere him who summoneth 

I first have seen, enwound 
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned; 
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith. 
Wliether man's heart or life it be which yields 

Thee harvest, must Thy harvest fields 

Be dunged with rotten death? 

Now of that long pursuit 
Comes on at hand the bruit; 
That Voice is round me hke a bursting sea : 
"And is thy earth so marred, 
Shattered in shard on shard? 
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me ! 
Strange, piteous, futile thing! 
Wherefore should any set thee love apart? 
Seeing none but I make much of naught" (He said), 
"And human love needs human meriting: 

How hast thou merited — 
Of all man's clotted clay the dingiest clot? 

Alack, thou knowest not 
How little worthy of any love thou art! 
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee, 
Save Me, save only Me? 

All which I took from thee I did but take, 

Not for thy harms. 
But just that thou might'st seek it in My arms. 

All which thy child's mistake 
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home : 

Rise, clasp My hand, and come." 

Halts by me that footfall: 
Is my gloom, after all. 
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly? 
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, 
I am He Whom thou seekest ! 
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me." 




The poet begins with the idea of the soul fleeing from 
God, 'T fled Him down the arches of the years," and 
how it strives to hide from Him in sorrow and joy, "in 
the mist of tears and under running laughter." Nor can 
it escape either in hope or fear from those feet ''that 
follow after" "up vistaed hopes" and "adown Titanic 
glooms of chasmed fears." For those feet ever follow 
after and a voice beats "more instant than the feet" "with 
unhurrying chase, and unperturbed pace, majestic in- 

"All things betray thee who betrayest me." 

And when it came to plead for the love of other 
hearts, "by many a hearted casement," although it knew 
His love, yet it feared lest having him, it must have 
naught beside. 

The human heart is not generous enough to give up all, 
and be satisfied with the love of God. It wishes other 
things besides God, and because God will have no other 
love in His place, it fears the love of God which demands 
this sacrifice, and it sacrifices God instead. But He is 
not satisfied with this. The creature must love Him. So 
when the "casement is parted wide" the "gust of His ap- 
proach would clash it to." — 

The soul is in fear of Him. It flees, but love pursues 
after fear. And though it flee to the stars across the 
world, to the moon, love is there still pursuing. At dawn 
and at eve it strives to hide, it calls upon the sky to drop 
its veil lest He see, 


It tries to tempt God's creatures, but finds them con- 
stant, and itself betrayed. To everything swift it turns 
to evade the Divine pursuer, to the wind of the 
prairie, or to the thunder-chiven winds that sweep the 
heavens mid thunder and Hg-litning, but its fear cannot 
evade the swift following of love. Its search is vain 
in the face of man or maid, and it turns to the children, 
thinking "they at least are for me, surely for me," again 
to be undeceived. They answer not, for their angel takes 
them away. Nature's children will guard their fellow- 
ship, playing with the tresses of Mother Earth, in her 
palace with walls of wind and her blue dais of the 
heavens, drinking from a chalice out of the day-spring. 
It learned the secrets of Nature, the changes in the sky 
and the meaning thereof, the origin of the clouds from 
the foam of the sea, the causes of life and death, and 
made these tell his moods of lamentation or divine 
exaltation, companions of joy or sorrow. It was heavy 
with the evening, and radiant with laughter in the morn- 
ing, and glad in bright and sad in stormy weather. It 
wept with nature and throbbed in unison with its sunset 
heart. But not all these things could fill the craving. 
Nature felt the tears on her own cheek, but could not un- 
derstand, or speak. Nature was but a stepmother, and 
could not slake that thirst, nor did she once give to drink 
of her breasts for the quenching of that burning thirst. 
Nowhere can it find content. 

Finally, when all has failed, when the armor is broken 
piece by piece and falls from the soul and it is smitten 
and utterly defenceless, the soul that seemed sleeping, 
awakes. It finds that in its sleep it has been stripped. 
In the rash strength of its youth, it pulled down the 
pillars of life in time. It stood amid the dust of its years 
heaped up as a mound, all begrimed with smears. 


Its youth lies dead under that heap, the days of Hfe 
seem to have caught fire as chips, and crackled and gone 
up in smoke, and seemed to pufif up and burst, as the 
sunlight flashes on rippling water. 

And now even the dream is gone from the dreamer, 
and the lute no more gives music for the lute-player. 

Even the thoughts of poesy that seemed to make the 
earth an enchanted toy are fading away; they were not 
strong enough cords for the earth, and are overtaxed 
by grief. 

All is so full of sadness, and sorrow, and grief, and 
failure to the heart seeking for love. 

Ah ! is this His love ? Is it an immortal weed that will 
let no flowers spring up but its own? 

Must Thou, O infinite designer, char the wood before 
Thou wilt draw any design with it? 

Ah! must — 

Designer infinite ! 

Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn 
with it? 

This is what puzzles the world. 

Must Thou char the wood ? 

Must the soul and life be burnt in bitter suffering, a 
complete holocaust — before Thou canst limn with it? 

Before God can draw, in the infinite design of His 
Providence, and work with the soul as a fit instrument, 
it must be charred in the furnace of suffering. 

Upon the soul must be carved the image of Jesus 
Christ and Him crucified. 

In the Christian life must be reproduced the crucified. 

The pride of human life must be charred by humilia- 
tion deep and bitter. 

The sensuality of man must be burnt to a charred stick 


\)\ jiliysical pain, inlcnse suffering, denial of the senses, 

The uncontrolled affections of the human heart must 
he bridled, subdued, conquered, and before Divine Love 
can use that heart, all merely human dross must be burnt 
away, and the heart purified of all earthly desire. 

Ah ! must — 

Must Thou, Designer infinite, char the wood, before 
Thou canst limn with it? 

It is the history of the dealings of God with the human 

All pride, sensuality, inordinate affection must be burnt 
out of the heart before God works with it on His design. 
And until that is done, after the soul there comes the beat 
of insistent feet, and a voice more instant than the beat. 

Deny thyself, leave all and follow Me. 

And the voice will never cease till the soul gives up all 
it loves, absolutely all, even though it persists in strug- 
gling to hold, and yields nothing until forced by that 
voice around it like a bursting sea, "Naught shelters thee, 
who wilt not shelter Me." — 

"The cross, therefore, is always ready, and everywhere 
waits for thee. 

Thou canst not escape it whithersoever thou runnest; 
for whithersoever thou goest, thou carriest thyself with 
thee, and shalt always find thyself. 

Turn thyself upwards, or turn thyself downwards; 
turn thyself without or turn thyself within thee, and 
everywhere thou wilt find the cross. 

Prepare thyself to suffer many adversities, and divers 
evils, in this miserable life." (Imitation of Christ 
I. C, 12.) 

My freshness has fallen down as a shower in the dust, 
my heart is like a broken fountain, filled with stagnant 


tears that drop from the moist-heavy thoughts, from the 
sad branches of my mind. 

If the inside of the fruit is so bitter, how will the 
rind taste? I dimly guess at what is seen confusedly 
through the mists of Time. Yet at times I hear a trum- 
pet from Eternity, I catch a glimpse of those everlasting 
battlements, for a moment I see them through the half- 
clearing mists that settle thick again and dim the view. 
But not before I have seen him who calls, wrapped in 
his purple robes of gloom and crowned with cypress. I 
know death, and the meaning of his trumpet that calls an 
end to all in life. 

For the harvest field, whether it is of man's life or 
man's heart, must be dunged with death before they yield 
Him a harvest. 

Life, before its harvest is given to the Divine Harvester ^ 
must meet with death ; so too, the harvest of the human 
heart must meet with the death of all it loves, must die 
to self before it gives the harvest to the harvester of love. 

The noise of the long pursuit is at hand, and that 
Voice is around me like a bursting sea. 

Is that earth which thou didst so love, now so utterly 
spoiled that it lies like a broken jar in pieces on the 
ground? Lo! all things fly thee, for thou fliest me. 

O strange, pitiful object, so helpless. Why should it 
thus think that anything should love thee ? No one but 
I loves such a wretched thing as thou art. 

There should be some merit to deserve human love. 

What hast thou done to merit ? Thou, the most dingy 
clot of all mortal-clotted clay. 

Alas, thou dost not know how little worthy thou art of 
any love. Thou art so ignoble, whom wilt thou find to ■ 
love thee, but Me? Whatever I took from thee, I did not 
take to harm thee by the loss, but that thou mightst look 


for it in my arms. By a child's mistake, what thou didst 
imagine was lost, I have kept all stored for thee at 
home. — 

Rise, clasp my hand and come. That footstep is be- 
side me. — 

Is it true that what I thought was my gloom, was only 
the shadow of His hand outstretched to caress me? 

I hear him say to me now, and oh, how true it is ! 

Ah! fondest, blindest, weakest, I am He whom thou 
seekest. Thou dravest love from Thee, who dravest Me. 



The Soul pursued by God. 

The soul flees from Him — nights, days, years — in wan- 
dering of thought, in tears and laughter, in hopes and 
fears — 

Those feet — follow — and a Voice 

More instant than the feet 

"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me." 

The love of creatures. 

They elude him, evade him, are not true to him, for 
he is not true to God. ''Namght shelters thee, who wilt 
not shelter me." 

The love of children. 

When their love seems to answer, their angels pluck 
them from him by the hair. 
The love of nature. 

Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drought. 

"Lo! naught contents thee, who content' st not me." 

Shorn of armor — defenceless — asleep — awake, my man- 
gled youth lies dead. 

My days have gone up in smoke. 

Puflfed and burst as sun-starts on a stream. 

The dream fails the dreamer, the lute the lutanist. 

The soul sought human love, — and though I knew His 
love who followed, yet I was sore adread, lest having 
Him, I must have naught beside. 

The soul knows His love — and knows it is a jealous 
love, and is afraid that if it accepts that love and answers 
it as it should be answered, there could be no room for 
any creature. 

And flying from that love, every human love was dis- 


loyal, false — false to the love that was false to God — true 
to God and in its trueness to God — untrue to the love 
untrue to God. 

And the children just as their love answers — their 
angel plucked them by the hair. 

Come, then, ye other children — Nature's — share with 
me your delicate fellowship. 

I drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies. 

Knew the importings of the wilful face of skies. 

How clouds arise — from the foam of the wild sea 

Knew all that's born or dies. 

I was heavy with the even. 

When she lit her glimmering tapers. 

Round the day's dead sanctities. 

I laughed in the morning's eyes. 

I triumphed and I saddened in all weather. 

But Ah ! We know not what each other says. 

In sound I speak — they speak in silences. 

Whether man's heart or Hfe it be which yields Thee 
harvest — must thy harvest fields be dunged with rotten 

Now after that long pursuit comes a noise. 

That Voice is round me like the bursting sea. 

"And is thy earth so marred 
Shattered in shard on shard." 

Lo all things fly Thee, for thou Uiest me. 
Wherefore should any set thee love apart? 
Seeing none, hut I make much of naught. 
"How little worthy of any love thou art." 
"Whom wilt thou £nd to love ignoble thee, save Me — • 
save onl\i Me?" 


All which I took for thee I did but take not for thy 

But just that thou mightest seek it in my arms. 
All that thou didst fancy lost, I have stored for thee 
at home. 

Rise, clasp my hand and come. 

Halts by me, that footfall, 
Is my gloom after all 

Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly. 

Ah! fondest, blindest, weakest, 

I am He whom thou seekest^ 

Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me." 




The soul flees from God by the love of creatures, by 
sin, by self-love, by turning from God, by refusing to 
listen to the inspirations of grace. 

Turning away from God. 

1. ''All things betray thee, who betrayest Me." 

Fear v^ist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue. 

2. "Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me" 

Children and nature. 

3. "Lo! naught contents thee, who contenfst not Me.'* 

Naked I wait Thy love's uplifted stroke. 

4. ''Lo! all things Hy thee, for thou Mest Me." 

Strange, piteous, futile thing! 

5. 'Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee, Save Me, 

Save only Me?" 
All which I took from thee I did but take, not for 
thy harms. 

6. "Rise, clasp my hand, and come." 
Halts by me, that footfall: 

7. "Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, 
"I am He Whom thou seekest!" 

"Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me." 
The soul seeks for happiness 
In creatures. 
In human sympathy. 
In knowledge and study and science. 


In nature. 

All is failure. 

It can find it only in God. 

Without Whom all is emptiness. 

The very unloveableness of all is to teach the loveable 
ness of God. 

He has recompense for all. 

Only He loves — He only is worthy of being loved. 

WTien the soul drives Him away it drives away happi- 

It turns from God — true happiness — to look for happi- 
ness in something that is not God. 

It runs away from God — and God ever pursues the 
soul — yearning to win it back to true happiness, while it 
pursues false happiness. 

This false happiness it looks for in creatures. 

In human beings — in human sympathy and love. 

In the love of little children. 

In the love of nature. 

In the love of knowledge — earth, sea and sky, the 
stars — in the seasons — they all speak not. 





When the soul turns from God to love creatures inor- 
dinately instead of loving God, He places disappointment 
in the object loved, to make it turn back to God, who 
alone can satisfy the capacity of the soul. He follows 
arid reproaches the disloyalty of the soul, and creatures 
are disloyal to it, at the time they seem loyal, with "trait- 
orous trueness" and "loyal deceit." 

God reproaches the soul, chides it, pleads with it. 
Sends it many inspirations, by means of a word, a ser- 
mon, a line, a sorrow of life, a sickness, a suffering. 

The soul finds all a failure — bitterness, with despond- 
ency and occasional glimpses of Eternity, and the thought 
of decay and death. 

Then sounds a voice — like a bursting sea. The love 
that was sought is broken in pieces like a vessel of clay. 
All things fail to answer the yearning for love of the 
human soul — which only God can fill. 

Why should I find anything in thee to love, and yet I, 
only I, love thee — worthy of little love. 

Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee, save Me, 
save only Me? 

"That which I took — thou'lt find it in my arms, 
It's stored for thee at home, not lost. 
Rise, clasp my hand and come." 
"Halts by me that footfall 
Is my gloom after all 

Shade of His hand outstretched caressingly? 

Ah ! fondest, blindest, weakest, 

I am He whom thou seekest, 

Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me." 

Francis Thompson wrote tiie Life of St. Ignatius and 
knew his ideas. 

From the Poem we may draw a parallel with the 
Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius : 


Spiritual Exercises. 

I Week. 

End of man, end of creatures, 

sin, hell, death. 

The soul turns from God by 

the wrong love of creatures. 

Chooses them instead of God. 

'Repentance. Conversion of 

Soul to God. 



The soul fleeing from God to 

every creature. 
Resisting grace. 
Returning to God. 
Rise, clasp My hand and come. 

II Week. 
Knowledge and Love of Our 

Lord. The Kingdom of 
Christ. The Incarnation. 
The Nativity. Hidden Life. 
Public Life. Two standards. 
Three classes of Men. Three 
Degrees of Humanity. 

III Week. 
The Passion of Christ. 

The Agony, the Scourging, the 

The Passion of Christ. 
Crowning with Thorns. Be- 
fore Pilate. The Death in 
shame on the Cross in the 

IV Week. 
The Resurrection. 
Contemplation on Divine Love. 
The creatures of God that 


Humility, surrender. 

Naked I wait Thy love's up- 
lifted stroke. My mangled 
youth lies dead beneath the 
heap. How little worthy of 
any love thou art. Whom 
wilt thou find to love ignoble 
thee save Me, save only Me? 

The Mystery of Suffering. 

Is Thy love indeed a weed, an 
amaranthine weed? 

Ah ! designer infinite. 

Oh ! must Thou char the wood 
before Thou burn with it. 
Desolation of soul, sorrow, 
humiliation. Self .Sacrifice 
with Christ Crucified. 

Rise, clasp My hand and come. 

All which thy child's mistake 

were means before, are now 
as gifts from God to the 
soul. The creatures of God 
which He has made, Hves in, 
operates in, for man, are 
broken reflections of the Di- 
vine beauty. 

fancies as lost, I have stored 
for thee at home. 
Is my gloom after all shade of 
His hand outstretched ca- 
ressingly? Thou dravest Love 
from thee, when thou dravest 

I Week. 

In the First Week of the 
Spiritual Exercises of St. Ig- 
natius the soul meditates on 
Man and the end for which he 
and other creatures were made, 
God. He can find happiness in 
God alone. He turns from 
God to creatures, and loves 
them for themselves, instead of 
as means to help him to God. 
This is sin. Sin turns man 
from God, and leads him 
to love creatures instead of 
God. He meditates on the 
evil of sin which separates 
the soul from God and casts 
it into hell. Knowing the 
evil and malice of sin, the soul 
turns back to God. God in His 
mercy pardons the repentant 
sinner and receives him back 
to His friendship and His love. 

II Week. 

In the Spiritual Exercises 
the soul listens to the Voice of 
the Kin'g in the Kingdom of 
Christ, who calls His noble 
followers about Him — asking 
them to make themselves re- 
markable in the service of their 
King. None but a cowardly 


In the poem by Francis 
Thompson the soul turns away 
from God, and strives to find 
its happiness in creatures, love, 
children, nature, knowledge,* 
poetry — it finds that all things 
betray it who betrays God, — 
naught contents it, who con- 
tents not God. — It can find a 
return of love in no creature — 
not in man — nor in children, 
nor in nature — until stripped of 
all, it turns to God. — In Him 
alone it can find what it seeks. 
— Yet God loves it — unworthy 
of love. — Only God loves the 
soul — who had driven away 
His love. 


In the Poem the thought re- 
sponding to the Second Week 
of the Exercises is the virtue of 
humility, and the surrender of 
self as the result of failure to 
find love in creatures to satisfy 
the yearnings of a soul meant 
for God. The soul is sought 


knight would refuse such a 

None but a cowardly soul 
would refuse to follow his 
kingly leader Christ. 

He must follow him, and 
prove his love by imitating 

In the humility of the Incar- 

In the poverty of the Nativ- 
ity at Bethlehem, 

In the obscurity of the Hid- 
den Life at Nazareth, 

In the toil of the PubHc Life 
in Judea. 

If we wish to be like Christ 
we must learn from Him and 
His example the virtues of hu- 
mility, poverty of spirit, the 
retirement of the Hidden Life 
and the incessant toil of the 
PubHc Life. We must do good 
not only for ourselves, but for 
others and for the glory of 

Ill Week. 

The Third Week is given to 
the Meditations on the Passion, 
sufferings and death of Christ. 
A-fter the Supper at Bethany 
and the institution of the Eu- 
charist, the follower of Christ 
fed by the bread of Angels, 
must go with his King in the 
way of suffering. He will share 
in the anguish of His Divine 
Heart — in the Agony in the 
Garden, he will feel the bitter 
pangs of His Sacred Body— in 
the scourging by the soldiers; 

for by God, kept from finding 
rest in creatures by their in- 
capacity to respond to the 
yearning of the soul whose 
happiness can be filled by God 

So it must not seek that 
which gratifies pride, and gives 
glory to self instead of to God, 
by fame and reputation, nor 
rest, nor leisure in the mere 
enjoyment of the things of the 
earth, but make all things a 
means of bringing the soul 
closer to its Lord and Master. 
So there must be humility and 
surrender of self to God. "I wait 
Thy love's uplifted stroke." 


Ah ! Designer Infinite, must 
thou char the wood before thou 
canst limn with it? 

For the soul to be made an 
instrument of the Infinite De- 
signer it must be tried in the 
fire of suffering until it is 
charred, and its self-love and 
imperfections removed by pain. 
Why should it be so? The In- 
finite Designer has so ordained. 
He has given the example of 
suffering. "He was wounded 
for our iniquities, and by His 


he will know the pangs of His 
Divine mind in the cruel 
crowning of thorns, and will 
taste the full bitterness of the 
holocaust of suffering on the 
road to Calvary and in the 
three hours on the cross, and 
the death of the Crucified. 

The soul penetrates the depths 
of Divine suffering and learns 
that to be like the Lord it, too, 
must share the bitterness of 
the sufferings of the Master. 

bruises we are healed." But 
we must apply His sufferings 
to our own souls. He merited, 
but we must individually apply 
His merit. It would be easier 
for Him to bear all, and for us 
to bear none, but He has borne 
more, we must bear, at least, 
some suffering. He gave the 
greatest proof of love. He laid 
down His life for His friend. 
He was not obliged to do so, 
His love constrained Him. 
Shall we be so unselfish as not 
to wish to suffer something for 
Him who suffered so much for 
us. He gave up all for us. 
Love dictates that we should 
give up all for Him, even were 
it not necessary. The proof of 
our love will be our likeness to 
our Crucified Lord. 

Ah ! Designer Infinite, must 
Thou char the wood ere Thou 
canst limn with it? 

IV Week. 
The spirit of the Fourth 
Week of the Spiritual Exer- 
cises is joy with our Risen 
Lord. Gladness and happiness 
at His Resurrection are to be 
the keynote of all our thoughts. 
We are rejoicing because He 
our Master and King who suf- 
fered pain and died, now suf- 
fers no more, but has risen to 
life by His own power to die 
no more. He will receive in 
His Sacred Humanity the re- 
ward of all His sufferings and 


"Rise, clasp my hand, and 
come." The despondency and 
gloom brought on by the fail- 
ure of creatures to respond to 
the seeking for happiness, by 
the failure of everything in life 
to bring content and happiness, 
now gives way to the consoing 
thought : 

'T, your God, am near. You 
thought all things were lost, but 
I have kept them stored up for 
you at home." The gloom that 
?ecmcd to darken each joy and 


merits. We rejoice, also, be- 
cause by His resurrection we 
are assured of our resurrection 
from the dead, and freedom 
from sin, pain and sorrow for- 
evermore. The creatures which 
God gave as means are now 
gifts of His goodness to us, re- 
flections of His Divine Beauty. 
Where we made sacrifices for 
His love, He has given us a 
hundredfold in return and life 

to take away all happiness in 
life, was it after all the shade 
of His hand caressing me? Is 
it not now all brightened by the 
joy and glory of the love that 
has come? The love that I 
drave away, when I drave my 
Lord away, I drave Love from 
me, when I drave Him. Ah ! 
Love Divine. Stay with me 
forevermore to be my joy. 
Now that I know Thee, Divine 
Love, shall I ever drive this 
Love from me? May it not 
be said of me 'Thou dravest 
Love from thee when thou 
dravest Me." 



In this poem we may consider separately 
The Thought. 
The mystical thought. 
The diction. 
The imagery. 

The wonderfully expressive words. 
The vistas of thought opened up. 
The soundness of the views of life. 
The solidity of the doctrine. 
The depths of divine love sounded. 
The compassion of divine mercy portrayed. 
The contrast of finite and infinite flashed forth. 
The gentleness of Divine Providence in life's sorrows. 
The recompense to the soul that turneth back to God. 
The insight into the Spiritual Life. 
The knowledge of the human heart. 
The emptiness of all save God. 
The subterfuges of the heart in evading God's love. 
The futility of the flight of the soul from God, 



Down the arches of the years. 

I hid from Him in the mist of tears and under running 

Vistaed hopes. 

Shot adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears. 
Imperturbed pace, majestic instancy, deliberate speed. 
Hearted casement. 
Trellised with intertwining charities. 

The margent of the world. 
Gold gateways of the stars. 
Fretted to dulcet jars. 
And silvern chatter. 
The pale ports of the moon. 

Young skyey blossoms. 
Tremendous lover. 
Traitorous trueness. 
Loyal deceit. 

Whistling mane of every wind.- 
Long savannahs of the blue. 
Thunder driven 

Clanged His chariot 'thwart a heaven. 
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn of their 

Plucked them from me by the hair. 
Delicate fellowship. 
Wind-walled palace. 


Azurcd dais. 
Taintless way is. 
Lucent weeping. 

Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies. 

Swift importings in the wilful face of skies. 

Knew how the clouds arise, spumed of the wild sea 

Shapers of mine own words. 
With them joyed and was bereaven. 

The day's dead sanctities. 

I laughed in the morning's eyes. 

Heaven and I wept together. 

Its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine. 

Red throb of its sunset heart. 

My tears were hot on Heaven's grey cheek. 

Their sound is but their stir. 

They speak by silences. 

Blue bosom veil of sky. 

I shook the pillaring hours. 

Pulled my life upon me. 

My days have crackled and gone up in smoke. 

Puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream. 

Now fails the dream the dreamer, 
And the lute the lutanist. 
Blossomy twist. 

I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist. 
With heavy griefs so overplussed. 
An amaranthine weed. 
Designer infinite. 


Must thou char the wood to limn with it? 

My freshness spent its wavering shower in the dust, 

where tear-drippings stagnate. 
Dank thoughts that shiver upon the sighful branches 

of the mind. 
Those shaken mists a space unsettle. 
Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash again. 
With glooming robes. 

Must thy harvest fields be dunged with rotten death? 
That voice is round me like a bursting sea. 
Shattered in shard on shard. 
Seeing none but I make much of naught. 
Of all man's clotted clay, the dingiest clot. 
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee, save Me, save 
only Me? 

I did but take, not for thy harms. 

Is my gloom after all, shade of His hand outstretched 

Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me. 



Amaranth — Purple flower, hnmortal weed. 

Amaranthine — Immortal, unfading. 

Bruit — noise. 

Casement — window. 

Clotted clay — clay in clots with moisture. 

Dank — moist, heavy. 

Dulcet jars — Sweet discords. 

Fret — High notes held down on stringed instruments, 

guitar, etc. 
Fret — Means to tease, also to strike metal into shapes 

and bars. 
Fretted to dulcet jars. 
Instancy — urgent pressure. 
Limn — paint, draw. 
Margent — ^border. 
Owe — own. 
Pulp — inside. 
Rind— shell. 

Savannahs — meadows, low, level, treeless plains. 
Shard — piece of broken pottery. 
Sun-starts — water flashing in the sunlight. 
Wantoning — playing. 
Wash — rise against, like the tide waters. 
Wist — to know. wit. 


In his article on Francis Thompson, Albert Cock 
says : 

"Who, knowing the 'Hound of Heaven,' will assert 
that the Catholic Church no longer voices the spiritual 
yearnings of the age? . . . Francis Thompson is, 
in some respects, the greatest achievement of Catholic- 
ism in the nineteenth century. His poetry is resident in 
man. It is the repetition of the centuries." 

And he continues : 

"No wonder this moved the literary world to enthusi- 
asm. It has been said that people will be learning it by 
heart two centuries hence. In truth its qualities hardly 
need analyzing. Many are the odes in our language which 
drag out a weary length and lack an inevitable finish, but 
not of this can it be said: 

Time is. Our tedious song should here have ending. 

For immediacy of appeal and perfect conformity of 
soul with Force, it has no superior; in its astounding 
speed of phrase it reaches a new goal in our literature; 
its subtle and intricate rhymes are the secret rivets which 
bind together a poem unique in the singleness and great- 
ness of its theme ; as a religious poem it stands for all the 
world and for all time, and, by a right royal of its own 
claims peerage with the Psalmist for range, with St. Paul 
for virility of argument and with St. Augustine for great- 
ness of thought and diction." 




BY^ — 

REV. J. F. X. O'CONOR, S.J. 

Dedicated with permission to His Eminence Cardinal Farley^ 

Father O'Conor's ''Study of Francis Thompson's Hound of 
Heaven" contains the complete poem, an interpretation, a mys- 
tical application and parallel with the Spiritual Exercises of St. 


"This remarkably interesting book may be ordered now from 
the leading publishers." 

"It contains an estimate and an appreciation of the most re- 
markable poem of the century, full of strength, sweetness and 
light. There is given a mystical application and a parallel be- 
tween it and the Exercises of St. Ignatius." 

"People will still be learning it by heart two hundred years 

"It will be eventually used as a text book in colleges, convents 
and schools." 

"Fr. O'Conor has strung another pearl on the gleaming carca- 
.net of Catholic Belles-Lettres." 

"My warmest congratulations and my admiration for the spirit- 
ual and literary chef-d'oeuvre. May it have the widest distribu- 
tion, as it is certain to do good in every respect." 

"I went through the 'Study of the Hound of Heaven' most 
carefully. It is very, very fine. A great many are anxious to 
read it. A copy should be in every English institution." 

"Some will not read the poem because of the name." 


"Of this poet Chesterton says : 'You can work infinitely in, 
and infinitely out.' Room for analysis there." 

"I have received the 'Study of the Hound of Heaven.' On 
reading the poem I did not seem to appreciate it, but as I finished 
the Study it seemed as if I had been in a dark cathedral looking 
at a painting when the window opened and shed a flood of light, 
bringing out the glorious beauty of the picture in all its splendid 
color and detail." 

"Immediacy of success has greeted Father O'Conor's 'Study of 
Francis Thompson's Hound of Heaven.' " 

"Its first limited edition was rapidly exhausted. Everyone 
wants to read it. It has been welcomed by the general reader and 
the scholar, the lover of the spiritual and of the literary, by 
the religious and the layman." 

"It will be read and learned in our schools, as well as affording 
a choice Christmas gift for a friend to whom one wishes to send 
a great thought in great words." 

"Evidently John Lane must realize the value and charm of the 
'Study of the Hound of Heaven,' and I am elated that you have 
moulded it so beautifully." 

"I was not familiar with the poem and at first it really awed 
me. Each time one reads it it becomes more wonderful and 
beautiful, but I am afraid without your brilliant interpretation 
others besides myself would have lost its full meaning. You 
have certainly made it very clear to comprehend." 

"You have opened up vistas through the richness of Thomp- 
son's thought that will enable many minds to enjoy beauties that 
would have remained otherwise hidden but to the few." 

"I hope the little work wmII fall into many hands ; it has a real 
mission in the material world of to-day, as it opens the way to 
all that is most spiritual and highest." 

■'The parallel with the Spiritual Exercises is a stroke of genius. 
The thought in the poem is found there." M. Kenny, S.J., 

Associate Editor of "America." 

"I wish to gratulate you. It is neat and attractive, and, as 
far as 1 have been able to look into it, is scholarly." 

F. P. Donnelly, S.J. 

"Literature and religious thought owe a debt of gratitude to 
Fr. O'Conor for making this poem better known and, further- 
more, attractive and exquisitely interesting by revealing hidden 
beauties and meanings that would have remained unknown save 
to the few." 

"How few of even the literary religious would have known all 
the hidden beauties of this masterpiece, if you had not unearthed 
them for us." 

"it surely an inspiration which prompted you to make a 
study of this rarely beautiful poem and give it so unique an inter- 
pretation. While every stanza is a gem and full of thought for 
spiritual meditation ... its meaning is not clear, and your 
study will solve many doubts and make better known to the world 
the intrinsic beauty and spiritual value of the work of a truly 
noble Catholic poet." 

" The Hound of Heaven' will not be read and set aside ; it will 
stand rereading many, many times." 

A partial list of schools adopting it as text-book : 

Sacred Heart Convent, Man- Cathedral College. 

hattanville, N. Y. Brentwood. 

College of j\It. St. Vincent. St. ^Mark's Academy, Altoona. 

St. Joseph's, Chestnut Hill. Xew Rochelle College. 

"I shall recommend it to the higher grades of our Catholic 
schools." Rev. Joseph Smith, 

Siipcriiitcndcnt N. Y. Catholic Schools. 

"Your study of Francis Thompson's 'Hound of Heaven' is a 
literary treat. The poem I had read many times before, and it 
is one of my favorite bits of English literature; but, I say it 
frankly, your Study of this masterpiece is a new revelation to 
me of its beauty. The poem and your 'Study' of it ought to be 
in the hands of every lover of what is best in English literature." 
Very sincerely yours, 

William Card. O'Coxnell, 
Abp. Boston. 

-The Rt. Rev. Bishop of Pittsburg ^i 

"I have read with interest and pleasure your 'Study of Frands 
Tho;iipson's Hound of Heaven,' and I congratulate you on the 
service v^hich you have done to all readers of the greatest poem 
of modern times." Yours sincerely, 

^Regis Canevin. 

"You can hardly imagine how thankful I am for your 'Study' 
of Francis Thompson's 'Hound of Heaven.' It has revealed the 
Jiidde.n beauty of the poem.^' Very faithfully yours, 

a&jAMES A. McFaul, 
Bp. of Trenton. 

Francis J. Quinlan, fonmer President of the Catholic Club, 
New York : 

"I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your beautiful 'Study of 
■,the Hound of Heaven,' and to thank you for the same. In read- 
ing it I am strangely reminded, though in a different way, of the 
great Oratorio of Elgar, 'The Drea^m of Gerontius,' and hasten 
to pay my tribute to the rnasterly work achieved." 

"The 'Study of the Hound of Heaven' is a n^agnificent method 
of Critical Reading. I wish that it were in the hands of every 
^igh School teacher of English." J. H. Haaren, 

Associate Superifitendent Public Schools of jV. Y. 

'1 congratulate the author upon his most adminable analysis of 

one of the greatest odes in English literature. It is -a spiritual 

fcretreat to read it. He is doing a great service to both literature 

]an4 CathoHc truth in thus bringing to the attention of readers the 

)eauty and profouj^ spirijrual significance of this wonderful ode. 

heartily wish the Study the widest possible circulation. It 

would have great educational value if it were used in colleges 

and convents." CoNf)E B. Fallen, 

Managing Editor Catholic Encyclopedia. 

"It will be eventually used as a text book in colleges, convents 
md schools." 


110 West 32d St. NEW YORK. 

Cloth, oOc. ; paper, 25c. ; numbers at special rates. 


A XI) 


A Mystery Play, Operetta and Musical Drama 

Words and Music by ' 

J. F. X CONOR, S.J. 

Several Performances have been given in New York and 

It will be produced in Buffalo, in January, 1913, and later 
in the year, in New York. 
"It is most unique and charming in every respect." 

"Allow me to congratulate you on the beautiful music and 

"It possesses a charm and inspiration unequalled by any I 
have known before, although I have been training pupils for a 
number of years." 

"Fr. O'Conor is first in a new field." 

!'It was a great success." 

" 'Everysoul' is indeed a thing of beauty, and the dialogue 

" 'Everysoul' is beautiful. I would love to hear the Ben 
Greet players give it. I heard them in Everyman and was 
entranced, but 'Everysoul' would be even finer with the in- 
troduction of a good chorus-dance." 

J. FISCHER & BRC, 7 Bible House, New York 



This book is due on the last date stamped below, or 

on the date to which renewed. 

Renewed books are subject to immediate recall. 




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University of California